My father has been a hardworking taxi driver for 13 years ever since he was retrenched from his job as a senior technician in the semiconductor industry. Being a more skills-based person, he’s not very good at customer service or interacting with passengers. To make his job more challenging, my father’s English is not very good as he studied mostly in Chinese medium schools.
But he never gave up and since he’s the main breadwinner in my family, he tried really hard to make more money on the roads by memorising the street directory, practicing his English and learning how to use GPS etc. With his hard-earned money, he managed to send my elder brother to university and I am doing my diploma now. Since he doesn’t have a replacement driver, he’s on the roads at least 12 hours a day every day and on public holidays as well when the demand for taxis is higher.
On 2 Oct, Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan finally announced that they are going to review private car sharing apps such as Uber, to “forge a fair solution” for taxi drivers. This is after such apps have been around for more than a year. If Minister Khaw wants to forge a fair solution, isn’t he admitting that it is unfair currently?? Again, the PAP government is demonstrating that it is pro-business at the expense of Singaporeans.
The damage has been done. My father as a taxi driver is seeing his income drop as commuters choose to use such apps instead of normal taxis especially during peak hours and in the CBD. Will these customers who went over to Uber and Grab Taxi go back to normal taxis? Is the government being deliberately slow in addressing the situation?
My father does not mind competition and he understands that he has to work hard to earn his fare. But the ministry must understand that private taxi drivers do not need to take the vocational taxi driver licenses, their insurance are lower and some of these driver are even foreigners.
As the elected government of Singaporeans, I wish the PAP government would look after the interests of Singaporeans rather than just focusing on the business interests of the elite.